A human cell panel for evaluating safe application of nano-ZrO2/polymer composite in water remediation

Yabin Wang, Li Zhou, Xiaoling Wang, Xiaokun Liu, Liwen Jiang, Jiahui Wang, Hainan Sun, Cuijuan Jiang, Xueci Xing, Yi Zhang, Bingcai Pan, Bing Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Nanomaterials, such as ZrO2 nanoparticles (ZrO2 NPs), are very effective in water remediation. However, the safety issues related to nanoparticle release and toxicity to humans remain to be resolved. Here we evaluated the cytotoxicity of ZrO2 NPs and their adducts with pollutants using a human cell panel containing stomach, intestine, liver and kidney cells. We found that different pollutants or ZrO2NP/pollutant adducts targeted cells from different organs, suggesting the necessity of a cell panel to model oral exposures. The cooperation of ZrO2 NPs and pollutants was quite complex, consisting of synergistic, antagonistic, or additive effects. For example, ZrO2 NPs enhanced the cytotoxicity of Pb2+ in GES-1 cells and of Pb2+, Cd2+ in FHC cells, while alleviating the toxicity of Pb2+ and As (III) in HepG2 and Hek293 cells. Our results also indicated that even concentrations of pollutants that meet the national standard, the ZrO2 NPs concentration should be kept below 17 μg/mL to avoid ZrO2 NP/pollutant adduct synergistic toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-481
Number of pages8
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - Dec 30 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Antagonistic effect
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Nanoparticle/pollutant adducts
  • Synergistic effect
  • ZrO nanoaprticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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